You can wind my key and make me speak;
make me reveal what I meant at the time.
For I am a clockwork poem – poised for the telling –
a creature in resonance with the envy of weapons.
I am armoured with precision and subtle pledges;
angled with a soft heart, made good with bone.
I sleep one-eyed, behind the shards of palings –
and the billboard clouds of enormous fences.
I will return to my position via the autotomy of time;
discarding whole decades in an easy process.
The key that winds – unlocks the door
and the truth of the poem steps out of its frame.
You will shoulder me proudly – as a trusted stranger,
stumbling with the duty of accepted pursuance;
matching my steps through the space between ages
and settling for adventure in place of doubt.
I will guide you beyond the scope of your peers;
past all experiments and beneath all pretensions.
I will take you to the truth I found in mansions,
and in all the crevices of the passing years.
Your eyes have the energy of the coiling spring –
your mind is the key that turns again.
Turn it to trigger these clockwork poems
and prepare for the dichotomy of a cog’s embrace.
Comfort Poem at SeaTo the memory of Hart Crane. 1899-1932
It cannot be death without a poem –
something to wrap my agony inside before I sleep;
before I rest beneath this vertical tide
that falls away so steep.
Write the words across my sheets –
the billowing pages of unfurled letters
are the only wrappings I can take;
the only sails that will carry me forth,
beyond the chains of a snagging wake.
Can you not just see I want to sleep?
Let the weight of words
carry me down
The Old Skills of Applied Austerity
We live our lives like fugitives in the rough and tumble –
a chanting of souls who fear no evil.
As bathers, without soap or water.
When we are all strewn across the post-apocalyptic chaos,
we, the eternal peasants, will be a revelation to behold.
Accustomed to pain and the simple devotions,
we will teach you all –
you surprised and manicured people.
We will teach you the skills you will need for coping
in the face of a sudden and universal malevolence –
in the jaws of an abyss you refused to revoke.
We live our lives like fugitives in the rough and tumble –
stand aside and we will guide you home.
Purchase Peter's book below:
Bio: Peter Hague has written most of his life and always returned to it, like it was some sort of duty - a way of explaining the world - or testing it. His five books of poetry, including 'Summer With The Gods', 'Louder Prayers' and 'The Momentary Clock' all display a landmark development of his talent - one defined in a period of re-invention which began to take place around 2016. Also available are 'Gain of Function', which is a collection produced during the febrile atmosphere of the pandemic, and 'Hope in the Heart of Hatred': a 'bridge' between his earlier work and the work he is doing now. A number of other books are in production, encompassing both his exciting current work and a revival of his early output, stretching back to the nineteen-seventies. He has finally decided to concentrate his remaining years on a quest to become a voice in poetry. Throughout the preceding decades Peter Hague was a creative director at a number of design and advertising agencies before going freelance. He has also been known as a digital artist, going by the art name of 'e-brink'. There is an e-brink web site displaying many of his creations. Website: https: //www.peterhague.com Twitter: @PeterHague
Here what several important great people have to say about this upcoming book by editor/poet/writer David L O’Nan
Writings by David O’Nan is a special treat to poetry lovers. He often uses prose-style openings to draw in the reader, such as “I met the supernatural near this river by Osage Mint on a wet June day, fertile ground full of footprints” (from “The River Near the Osage Mint”). Then just as we start to get comfortable, O’Nan has a certain knack for dropping in piercing lines such as, “Our moment became shrapnel” (from “Noah and Satchmo”), or “Love like the sad” (from “Cardiac Weekend”), that becomes a sort of push and pull technique, moving the poem and reader along on the evocative journey each of his poemsprovides. –Samantha Terrell, Author of “Vision, and Other Things We Hide From” and “Keeping Afloat” among other books and creator of the poetic trinitas style of writing.
David O'Nan is an artist, a poet who explores the interesting and sometimes astounding facets of life through his work. In 'Cursed Houses' David writes in a style that is immediately engaging, sometimes humorous, always thought provoking. In his poem 'Utopian Window Blinds', he writes: "Beautify my broken heart. Look into my mind and tell me. I am Magical." That is precisely what David gives us, the reader. – Jay Maria Simpson is a published Australian Poet out of Perth, Western Australia who loves poetry, art, music, satire and dark comedy.
Cursed Houses by David O’Nan swirls with dynamic imagery at a manic pace. Its long probing lines are propelled by maddening spirals of rhythm and rhyme. These poems bob and weave, teasing dreamscapes out of rich details inhabited by a host of characters and situations earthly and un-. Love, lust, loss, bewilderment – degradation of the human spirit coupled with the uplift of having experienced something wholly holy. Cursed Houses offers room after room of astonishment wrapped in acute observations: standing outside, lonesome and creepy, a piercing inward gaze.
- Tony Brewer, author of psithurism and Pity for Sale
David O'Nan's poems are beautifully haunting, a landscape of Historical and Pop Culture memories. From death to Sunsets to homes of broken glass and even Andy Warhol, O'Nan's poetry will shake and stir you as the colors of his rhymes will resonate long after you devour each one, with verses like "The Feast" you will be craving a taste for more.
- Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, author of La Belle Ajar & We are the Ones Possessed amongst other collections.
The willpower is a long highway.” ~an immortal line, akin to Tom Petty’s But love is along, long, road.” David O’Nan has rock and roll in his soul.
“Spending nights in plastic neon blue and wondering why you didn’t know who’s hand was the knock on your door. Was it Mr. Peasant or Mr. Posh? All that you knew was a new daughter was calling you a mom.”
Like no other, David understands and exposes the plight of a runaway mother, perhaps a fixture of the 1980’s, the unsung heroines, the debris of the 1970’s
“I paint pictures for the cages of silence”
David O’Nan speaks for a disinherited generation left to suffer the sins of parental and cultural disintegration
“Old Satchmo at 49 smells vaguely of gasoline and some extinct cologne from 1989”
David O’Nan captures the zeitgeist of the crumbling American west, it’s bravado on it’s knees, still trying to please some long lost need.
“The devil has your shoelaces tied to the wrong feet”
An apt description of a runaway on the streets struggling to find their footing. An epic and strong poem describing what happens to the disinherited, disenfranchised in American society. Thrown out, as Jim Morrison said “like a dog without a bone.” Better than any other poet living, O’Nan describes the struggle of losing in a pre-apocalyptic America.
“We are powerless and the army has no artillery.”
Reminiscent of Neil Young’s “Helpless” lyrics is O’Nan’s vision of a dystopia left to carry on alone, abandoned and helpless, it’s government having long abandoned the field.
“All You see is the bones rise up when the moon hits the shine of the lake”
O’Nan describes perfectly the perfidy of the illusion of normalcy in what is in fact the toxic waste dump of America’s forsaken landscape.
“Maybe the king lives within the waters to drown your narcissistic glare. The River, the River near Osage Mint”
O’Nan reflects tangentially on the tortured history of the rivers cutting through the heartland of America, how they meander, the dangers they pose, the dams that feed them, while soul searching and reflecting on the American dream, much like a latter day Jack Kerouac. One wonders what chain of events drew the poet to leave near this place. The nameless “River near Osage Mint.”
If you were to read only one poem from David O’Nan, I would suggest Mandolins and Shrapnel. I personally find it on a level with Ginsberg’s best exuberant howlings. Mandolins is a tour de force. One feels oneself spinning with the poet down the highways and through the wastelands of post-industrial America littered with billboards proclaiming hell and damnation, torn through the middle by predatory birds, symbolic of lives shattered and scattered like shrapnel on a battlefield.
“Oh, those billboards by the way are just a hole for the vultures to fly through. listen to the breaking Mandolins, as our skeletons become shrapnel.”
- Elizabeth Cusack -Poetry on the Rocks for Lonely Hearts, a poet/writer traveler from Los Angeles. A recovering actress.
"David’s worlds always open new channels for looking at life. They are so often inventive stories that hold a spilling of truth – like the hull of a ship sloshing about on an unpredictable ocean – a world with a multifaceted cargo, perfect in every detail – in fact, a fusing of all details – making them oil each other to enhance their experience and their free passage. They are a generator of energy for the listening ear. From lyrical and beautifully sung – to hard and colourful poetry, told "like it is" – and that "is" always leaves me thinking I have moved forward in life’s puzzle of experience by reading these poems. So many wonderful lines – so many wonderful characters and their various situations – whatever your interest in poetry, you will need to read these poems to pass go.
David L O’Nan is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best poets of this moment and due for greatness in the longterm. – Peter Hague author of Summer With the Gods, Gain of Function, Hope in the Heart of Hatred & more.
David O’Nan is a poet but he may be a sorcerer in his Cardiac Weekend. Or into a world of dreams in Screams, Tears, Tennessee Voodoo. In Small Deaths and My Burning Bedsheets, he fashions his death and exhorts us to give a reason for him to continue his furtive imaginings in word and paintings. Do you have the power or are incited to provide reason for such as him? In Noah and Satchmo he colorfully tells a story of two grimy men in a way that MUST make you feel better. It is a story of confirmation, to send you on your way of superiority, as you love their place, so much lower than your own. Love Thy Neighbors describes a region of hell… Of voyeurs with horns and long tails being forced into your face. This is the world of O’Nan in fantasy and grime, incitement, and torment. You were minding your own business and this magician named David came along. Watch your step.
We are thankful no heaven can control or manage David O’Nan’s poetry. His work is not designed for the comforts of heaven or the torments of hell. David’s poetry breathes with us, and sustains our present, that we may whisper our lives to one another. – Giulio Magrini is a longtime writer living out of Pittsburgh and is receiving wonderful reviews on his new book “The Color of Dirt”
Having elsewhere demonstrated his prowess and capability in shorter forms in this collection prolific poet David L. O’Nan proves definitively he is every bit as skillful and interesting with more substantial, robust constructions, applying his inventive flair for language and provocative willingness to delve deeper into the fecund muck of Americana than the majority dare, exposing our culture's at times less savory underbelly in a manner which is never dull, but rather consistently as thrilling as it is in equal measures illuminating. Through diverse approaches and fearless examinations of subjects deeply personal as well as endemic of societal concerns, rooted in the immediate and timeless both — harkening back occasionally at, paying exciting homage to our era’s most qualified bards and lyric laureates, from Cohen to Dylan to Joni Mitchell, in the most constructive, charged manners — readers will be hard pressed to find a finger more firmly pressed to, descriptive of the stilted, erratic pulse of Western ennui and the dark winter of postmodern societal discontent embroiling contemporary existence than in the pages of Cursed House. In our age of urgency and desperation, David L. O’Nan emerges resolutely from the fetid swamps of struggle with an important viewpoint and mission which our imperiled species would be well served by reviewing and reflecting upon mindfully at length. A rousing book of works appreciative of the gravity to our prevailing crises, by a poet who twigs well there is not a moment to lose.
– Jerome Berglund is a writer and has worked in Cinema-Television production and worked in the entertainment industry before moving back to the Midwest. Jerome writes many haiku, senryu and haiga online and in print. He is an established award-winning fine art photographer, whose black and white pictures have been shown in galleries in New York, Minneapolis & Santa Monica.
"When I read a rational, well reasoned, logical, objective argument I laugh and sing and dance through the gaping holes.
What fools we are to stand pounding our chests preaching to the sun and everyone else that we are right, we have the truth.
What is truth? Do you know? We move forward by the aid of created symbols and we change those symbols as we move forward.
What gives you the right to deny the beauty, the honesty of poetry. There is no such thing as an endless straight line.
The shortest distance between two points is poetic distance. Poetry is the way. No one makes it through any black hole of night
without the morning light of poetry. The debate over whether formal or informal, Latinate or colloquial is best is meaningless.
Critics and Judges are the greatest fools. Poetry is the journey, the adventure in and through the valley of the shadow of death.
Poetry is birth, the journey, and death. Poetry is Alpha and Omega. Poetry is life. Life is poetry. The word was the same
in the beginning as the word is now. Say the word. Be the word. Be poetry. Be the poem you write. What else is there?
In his brilliant new book, CURSED HOUSES, David O'Nan is the poet of birth, the journey, and death.
David O'Nan is an original. One of a kind. I can't recommend his work highly enough."
--Ron Whitehead, Lifetime Beat Poet Laureate https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Whitehead
"David L O'Nan's Cursed Houses is a lyrical poetry book that carries so many themes, it's hard to select a few. O'Nan transmits storytelling, narratives, and short story genres within his poems with brilliance. Poems about love, society, death, loss, small town Americana, and loneliness stand out the most. At the heart of these poems is O'Nan's ability to make you feel how the memories of past loves can still be felt in the present time."
- Christina Strigas, “for all the lonely hearts being pulled out of the ground”
David L O’ Nan’s new book, Cursed Houses, from it’s haunting spooky cover to the end prose-piece, is a scorcher – a work of narratives and lyrics, an anxious mythic exploration of landscapes of broken shattered people; some likeable, poignantly portrayed, others monstrous, the walking-living Dead; their political screed like larvae spreading hate, the drunk military fathers, farmers, drifters and grifters, the abject young women and older matriarchs, full of hope and lies. Almost Biblical, its a book of character studies exploring upended toxic glamour, hopelessness, the cracks inside America where people fall.
The book richly escorts questions and trades in entropy, about the lives lived in adrenaline-fueled fantasy where excess drugs, false promises, hallucinations, and lament intersect. In Sinking Prison the narrator’s pain and violence follows him right into the afterlife: “You/were found and punished and/ become a nameless gazelle/in a jungle full of hungry/lions on your trail.” Ruminative and ferocious, David exposes families, meditates on life-lessons, draws from the personal, revels in a search for metaphysical meaning. The lines are alternately clipped and expansive, musical, Intuitive, folk tales told by a raconteur for a lion’s den.
We see ourselves and others, our stories and-our-not-stories in a calm-frenzy of bardic, balladic currency and lyrical leaps. In a poem to a dead brother, the narrator speaks beyond despair, of “Popping firework amphetamine pills, dragons watch the alleys/The abusive and abused in corners and in jars./Oh lonesome traveler, a blood kissed jewel.” Tangled and mournful – this book’s rapid-fire pulse is a circling, uniquely crafted, blistering collection. Bite down hard, get one, roam through its outlaw pages. –
- Robert Frede Kenter, author, visual artist, publisher of Ice Floe Press.
I assume no impartiality as I sit to write this acknowledgement and blurb for David. Having known David the editor, the poet, and the human has been the best creative gift of creative brotherhood I’ve grown to treasure and proudly parade. Cursed Houses is a world on its own folded neatly into a book cover waiting for you to unfold like a handkerchief concealing delicacies. Forget what you know about titles foreshadowing content and even casuistic usage of natural elements to convey sentiments as metaphors or similes because David layers natural elements to give you poetic suspense in every piece and theme. He is the magician’s tarot card of allure and demure – yes because poetic talent is in strategically controlling your subject’s emotional experience. Clarity is nice but with David, heavy and surreal is the vogue because Cursed Houses is a hex that will keep your mind spellbound as your lips pitter patter with magic, nature, love, mentality, and life’s other themes on duality. Cursed Houses is a book of personal causes for both the empath and the introvert as well as the curious and the bratty. In this book, his styles vary in tone and emphasis in a manner that gives symbolism and personification another dimension one that is holistic not elemental. The power of his imageries are not localized in a stanza or a part but throughout the whole piece. Have you seen a mood unfold like a jalousie window controlled with two lines to control shadow and light? David’s poems give out this effect because the first time you read a piece, you read it to take in the meaning trying to coin the aesthetics with what you’ve seen previously. However, upon reading his work for the second time, you will realize your heart and mind are the ones controlling what you are seeing whether they be extremes of light and shadow or even pain and beauty. For instance, in his piece “Womanizers”; David allows the reader to explore his subject’s cares and sentiments by showing how their antagonists envision or deal with them. By doing so he reveals his subjects’ points of strengths, advocates for them and showcases them in the light of humanity. Meanwhile in his piece “The Whole Mythology is Collapsing” David’s musings of spirituality are inclusive of dallying in engaging activities whilst touching base on the struggles of finding balance between the material world’s circumstances, the people’s expectations and prejudice and his desire to find peace and clarity. In this vein, the piece “If Masterpieces Were Bloodshed”, has left me in awe because If brushes had hurricane categories for thickness and aftermaths for handles; this piece is the epitome of the creative mind’s agony. He is able to take elements of magic and nature to project anguish and struggle for perfection. And last but not least in “A Botched Sunset”, David’s piece offers a lover’s despair as a palette of experiences in shades of confusion, denial, and unrequited love. Elements of nature speak in this poem for the poet’s lack of visibility and his reluctant bitter surrender to accepting the fate of being forever invisible and rejected like a sunset that was botched. My only wish is that everyone who stumbles upon Cursed Houses gets cursed with awe from David’s work. So, there you have it, Cursed Houses, your new poetic dopamine. Now go and get yourself a copy because you deserve it. With my Utmost Poetic Respect
Pasithea Chan (poet, contributor, artist)
David O’Nan creates mesmerizing imagery throughout Cursed Houses with lines like “You popped bubbles in the hot flames,/in flamenco streets with bleeding trains that lead you/from the whistles to the cheating rainfalls.” It’s easy to want to savor the poem 10 Years “We Are Hummingbirds in the South Wind” with its haunting stanzas that contain potent prose “Through Winter roses and the bleeding Spring flowers,/the Summer storms and the Autumn leaves rustling/Each with a threatening torch in our blessed hearts.” This collection is a must read.
Marisa Silva-Dunbar, author of Allison, and When Goddesses Wake
Bio: David L O’Nan is a poet, short story writer, editor living in Southern Indiana. He is the editor for the Poetry & Art Anthologies “Fevers of the Mind Poetry and Art. and has also edited & curated other Anthologies including 2 inspired by Leonard Cohen (Avalanches in Poetry & Before I Turn Into Gold) and Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Inspired by Bob Dylan. He runs the http://www.feversofthemind.com website. A wordpress site that helps promote many poets, musicians, actors/actresses, other writers. He has self-published works under the Fevers of the Mind Press “The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers” “The Cartoon Diaries” & “New Disease Streets” (2020).”Taking Pictures in the Dark” “Our Fears in Tunnels” (2021) a collection of poetry called “Bending Rivers” a micro poem collection “Lost Reflections” and new book “Before the Bridges Fell” & “His Poetic Last Whispers” (2022) David has had work published in Icefloe Press, Dark Marrow, Truly U, 3 Moon Magazine, Elephants Never, Royal Rose Magazine, Spillwords, Anti-Heroin Chic, Cajun Mutt Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Voices From the Fire among several other litmags. He doesn’t enjoy the process of submitting constantly however. Twitter is @davidLONan1 @feversof for all things Fevers of the Mind. Join Facebook Group: Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Arts Group .
Midnight SquallIn Memory of Anne Sexton
Here at death’s doorway –
gothic and brooding.
Depression is king –
I can’t be happy with anything.
Any burst of Sun.
I have checked my sextant
and I am rowing home.
I have done my hitch!
I have crossed my canvas –
stitch by stitch.
(c)Peter Hague 2020
"Bio: Peter Hague has written and studied poetry for most of his life and now has a number of books available including ‘Gain of Function’ and ’Summer With The Gods’. His main occupation was Creative Director in the field of advertising and design. He has a dedicated web site at https://peterhague.com and a digital art site at http://e-brink.co.uk He posts frequently on the web
*These first two poems were written in response to the war in Ukraine and first published on Twitter. They will appear in a new volume of poetry in September* The last poem is from Peter’s book ‘Louder Prayers’
The Poor Pariah
Where will the world go now without Russia –
without its complex weave of power and monstrosity?
Where will the world move to sit apart
from these endless instalments of misread glory;
from beyond this confusion of the rebirth of empire.
The philosophical conversation of war and peace
still burns in the anxiety of the Russian hearth –
with the crime and punishment of jealous blood,
where the vanity of conquerers justifies death.
We will need a place where their guns are silent
now we have found our own guns wanting or misplaced.
We will disguise our weakness with sanctions and aid,
while firing sterile criticism at logistical targets –
wounding ourselves with the backlash of expectation;
falling for the politics of jingoistic representation.
Mediocrity has been embraced by the crumbling West
and nursed to a position of fragile health.
We will conduct a proxy war of pompous psychology,
passing forth munitions from an imagined safety –
while always underestimating the crude march of ambition
and the patriotic fervour in the idiot soul.
And Death Shall Have No Opinion?
If I wear your flag on my lapel
will it help you win the futility of war?
Or will you be displaced by reckless courage –
buried beneath the illusion you were fighting for.
My badge of promises may not be secure;
it may lead you up a deadly path –
where the earth is scorched and the trees grotesque
and we all play dead in the aftermath.
A skein of geese crossed my path;
high in my window and heading north.
I was on a treadmill – ebbing into the future;
moving like a time machine –
moving like a V shape.
Wolfpack Contributor: Peter HagueA Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Peter Hague3 Re-published poems from Peter Hague
“Bio: Peter Hague has written and studied poetry for most of his life and now has a number of books available including ‘Gain of Function’ and ’Summer With The Gods’. His main occupation was Creative Director in the field of advertising and design. He has a dedicated web site at https://peterhague.com and a digital art site at http://e-brink.co.uk He posts frequently on the web @PeterHague”